Sunday, October 8, 2023

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Which Ancestor Lived the Shortest Life?

I love it when I remember that I've done some research already and can just look it up to get the answer to a question, as in this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver.

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

1.  Which of your known ancestors lived the shortest life?  Consider only the last eight generations and those ancestors with known birth and death dates.  Do you know the cause of death?  Was there an obituary?  How many children did s/he have?  How did you figure this out?

2.  Write your own blog post, leave a comment on this post, or write something on Facebook.

My ancestor with known birth and death dates with the shortest life is my great-great-grandfather Frederick Cleworth Dunstan, who is my paternal grandmother's maternal grandfather.  He married Martha Winn October 18, 1858 in Manchester, Lancashire, England.  He was born January 18, 1840 in Deansgate, Manchester, Lancashire, England and died September 21, 1873 in Hulme, Lancashire, England. His lifespan was 33 years, 8 months, and 3 days.

His cause of death was chronic bronchitis for 11 months.  I don't know of an obituary, and since the family was very poor, I consider it unlikely there was one (doesn't mean I'll stop looking, of course).

Frederick and Martha Dunstan had six children that I know of, of whom four survived to adulthood.  The youngest was my great-grandmother Jane Dunstan (1871–1954).

I figured out the answer to Randy's question by recalling that for two previous Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenges he had asked readers to determine their female and male ancestors' ages at death.  All I had to do was find the two posts (from 2016) and look at the results I had computed then.

I had one female ancestor who died at a similar age as that of Frederick Dunstan, but I don't have a documented birth date for my great-great-grandmother Esther Leah (Schneiderman) Gorodetsky, who is my maternal grandmother's paternal grandmother.  I have her date of death from metrical records of Kishinev, Bessarabia, Russian Empire (December 10, 1908, adjusted from the Julian calendar still in use at that time in the Russian Empire), but I don't know when or where she was born.  My estimate is that she died at about 34 years old.


  1. Cool that you remembered those posts from 2016 which helped you do the challenge!

    1. Sometimes it's very convenient to be able to remember odd pieces of information!

  2. It's actually a bit sad reading about all the ancestors who died in the prime of their lives. So much illness!

    1. I agree! But it does make you appreciate our better healthcare that is available nowadays!


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